I received an email from someone in Philadelphia this morning who was considering using her brother as a wedding officiant.
“My daughter is getting married on July 22 (her fiance is not Jewish). She and her fiance have asked my brother to marry them. My brother is going to get certified on line, but we want to be sure the marriage is legal. Could you recommend a cantor in the Philadelphia area, that would be willing to come to our venue, before the ceremony, to sign the marriage license (and maybe Ketubah) so the marriage would be legal?”
I had to read it a few times to be sure I read it correctly.
There are many times I’m asked this question, and so today I decided to write about it and give my (humble) opinion about why this could very well be the worst decision anyone could make for their wedding.
Why should you hire the professional Wedding Officiant?
Performing a wedding is so much more than reading vows. Especially when the couple is Interfaith, a professional knows how to blend and tailor the ceremony just the right way – because you want your ceremony to be inclusive and descriptive of who the couple really is. As a professional, I invest time and effort to get to know you and your families, to be sure I am creating the perfect experience for your once in a lifetime wedding ceremony.
As soon as I enter the facility, I immediately go to work making sure all details are exactly as they should be. Coordinating with your coordinator, planner, musicians, and bridal party requires strong attention to detail. When you go to a fine dining restaurant, that is where you feel the difference. Everyone around you just knows how to create an experience. A family member does not.
I am a trained facilitator. My speaking voice is trained. I phrase words and phrases in very specific ways, to include emotion, joy, enthusiasm, warmth, and create poignant moments. Words are very important. I use mine to create exceptional experiences.
Who will answer all the questions?
I get asked at least 30 questions at every wedding ceremony. What side does the bride stand on? Who walks the groom down the aisle? What if the flower girl won’t make it down the aisle? When should the music play? Who has the marriage license and what do we do with it?
Your brother has no idea. He might have to get out his cell phone and ask Google. Do you really want to trust your wedding ceremony to Google authority?
I’ve seen so many disasters as a result of family performing a wedding ceremony. When you are spending thousands – perhaps tens of thousands of dollars, why take the opportunity to save $1,000 on your wedding officiant when this is the cornerstone of your special day? This is where memories are created. Good ones and bad ones. You have the power to choose.
Hire a pro. Relax, the wedding ceremony will be amazing.
Overall, I believe that the person who emailed me does not understand all the wonderful qualities the Cantor (or Rabbi) will have, but already, she is worried that her ceremony won’t be “legal”. That’s enough of a worry – because online ordinations are NOT legal in all states, nor should they be. The professional wedding officiant knows how to make sure every detail of your event is perfect – and legal.
Would you rather walk down the aisle knowing the person at the end has everything under total control? Or would you rather hold your breath, praying and hoping nothing gets ruined?
Hire a pro. This is not where you want to save your money. 10 years from now, your guests will remember the ceremony, not the flowers. Spend money where it makes sense, and relax – the wedding ceremony will be amazing.